Better Off Under Saddam

From Holden:

Baghdad is disintegrating before our very eyes.

Baghdad’s mayor decried the capital’s crumbling infrastructure and its inability to supply enough clean water to residents, threatening Thursday to resign if the government won’t provide more money.

Mayor Alaa Mahmoud al-Timimi’s statement was an indication of the daily misery that Baghdad’s 6.45 million people still endure more than two years after the U.S.-led invasion. They are wracked not only by unrelenting bombings and kidnappings, but by shortages of water, electricity and fuel.


According to City Hall, Baghdad produces about 544 million gallons of water per day, nearly 370 million gallons short of its required amount. About 55 percent of the water reportedly is lost through leakage in the pipes.

Electrical shortfalls were common during Saddam Hussein’s regime and attributed to a poor distribution network, but the situation has worsened due to sabotage and poor maintenance.

Before the invasion, Baghdad residents had about 20 hours of electricity a day. Today, they get about 10, usually broken into two-hour chunks.

In addition, Iraq is not able to refine enough oil, so gasoline must be imported. Fuel convoys often are attacked by insurgents and the ensuing shortage has led to a black market in Baghdad.